In all things I have shown you that by working hard in this way we must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35, ESV).
Church planting is hard work. That may be revelatory or (if you are planting a church) it may be extremely redundant. Before we set out to start a new Gospel-centered, missional, evangelical, relevant, community-minded, incarnational, culture engaging, Bapticostal, Lutheriterian, cutting edge church, we must first commit to hard work.
Our society tolerates a lot of mistakes made by people and a lot of character flaws. Laziness is not one of them. Jesus encountered the disciples after His resurrection and they did not recognize Him (John 21). They had gone back to their occupation of fishing and he casually asked them if they had caught anything in their labors. They said no. Jesus told them to go back to work and cast their net on the other side. When they did, their labors produced more than their boat would hold. Jesus didn’t just instruct the fish to jump into the boat. He could have done that and the fish would have obeyed (Matt. 8:27). Instead, He told them to go back to work. This time, He blessed their faith and work and glorified Himself. This is the same way that Jesus initially called the first disciples. (Luke 5). On the lake, He told Peter, James and John to go back to work, launch out into the deep and fish some more even though they were tired after fishing all night long and caught nothing. When they returned, the boat was overflowing with fish and Jesus said, “From now on, you will be catching men” (Luke 5:10, ESV).
We catch men (conversions and baptisms) and we plant churches by working hard. Jesus said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). Some church planters want to receive a great church but are unwilling to give of themselves and work hard.
Seven practical ways you can work hard:
- Work hard at your walk with Jesus
- Work hard at your marriage
- Work hard at your parenting
- Work hard at your teaching
- Work hard at your shepherding the flock entrusted to you by God
- Work hard at your physical health
- Work hard at your financial health
A church planter that is not self-controlled and disciplined is disqualified as an elder (1 Tim. 3; Titus 1). If you are a pastor and are unwilling to work hard, repent immediately. The flock needs careful attention by the hard working shepherd and not by the careless sluggard (Prov. 6:6-11).